Alternative take on the ‘12 Days of Christmas’

I have a love/hate relationship with the popular Christmas song, "12 Days of Christmas." I admit it is mostly a hate relationship. However, there were many things about the song that I didn't know.

Did you know, for example, "true love" refers to God and "eight maids a-milking" refer to the eight beatitudes? The lyrics are stuffed with religious symbolism.

Also, it is not 12 days before Christmas, but 12 days after. December 25 is the first day of Christmas and Jan. 6, Epiphany, is the 12th. Maybe you knew that, but it was a revelation to me.

Anyway, I have shamelessly borrowed from the "real" lyrics and changed it into a song about some of the wonderful projects supported by The United Methodist Church, including projects funded by The Advance. While the song only allows for 12 examples, the church has many, many other opportunities for giving.

Try singing this to the original tune. It might not work out as musically harmonious, but I like it better.

"12 Days of Christmas Giving"

On the first day of Christmas,
My true love sent Haiti
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the second day of Christmas,
My true love offered income
By giving two chicks a-breeding
And a heifer for a hungry family.

On the third day of Christmas,
My true love helped quench thirst
With clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
My true love fueled knowledge
With kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
My true love scrubbed and scrubbed
With big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
My true love opened doors
With scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
My true love encouraged folks
To go a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
My true love supported
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the ninth day of Christmas
My true love cast a line
For fishing on the ocean,
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping ,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the 10th day of Christmas,
My true love hurried aid
To community hospitals,
Cast a line for fishing,
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping ,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the 11th day of Christmas,
My true love built shelter
With Habitat for Humanity,
Community health care,
Cast a line for fishing,
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students,
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

On the 12th day of Christmas,
My true love saved some lives
By imagining no malaria,
Habitat for Humanity,
Community health care,
Cast a line for fishing,
Missions in the world,
People a-gleaning,
Scholarships for students
Big cleaning buckets,
Kind tutors teaching,
Clean water pumping,
Two rabbits breeding and
A heifer for a hungry family.

*Gilbert is a multimedia writer for United Methodist Communications.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or [email protected]

First published Dec. 10, 2010.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Local Church
Members of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Tenn., enact the Nativity in 2020. The church plans to hold its Christmas Eve service outside in front of the stable and manger this year. Churches continue to be creative in finding ways to celebrate Christ’s birth and keep people safe during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of St. Paul United Methodist Church.

Reviving Christmas cheer in dark times

In this second year of the pandemic, United Methodist churches are getting creative in helping people experience Christ’s birth and love’s pure light.
Mission and Ministry
The Rev. Ruth Marsh (right) comforts Angi Rogers, a guest in the day shelter at Trinity United Methodist Church in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Rogers had not been feeling well and Marsh settled her in a Sunday school classroom to get some rest. “Everybody here takes care of me and each other,” Rogers said. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Churches see lots of need this Advent

Many congregations and affiliated nonprofits in the U.S. are stepping up efforts to help low-income people squeezed by inflation and affordable housing shortages.
Theology and Education
Glendale United Methodist Church in Nashville is decorated for the Advent/Christmas season. Photo by Steven Kyle Adair

Ask The UMC: How long is the Christmas season?

Do you know the dates the Christmas season begins and ends?